Shall we leave it to congress?
THE Constitution being the basic law of the land is the bases of all consequent laws that will be passed by Congress. Changing it therefore is so consequential. Is this present congress up to the task of coming up with a new one?
De facto, congressmen are not representatives of the people or at least the good majority of them. Many of them belong to political dynasties and they got elected not because they represent the will of the people but because of political machinations—and vote buying. Observably, the way congress as a whole behaves show that they not only represent their own families and political ambitions but they mostly kowtow the wishes of whoever is in power. As in the past, the majority of the present legislators jumped to the ship of PDP-Laban when Duterte became president. This is clearly shown in the maneuverings whenever bills are deliberated and ultimately passed according to the agenda and design of Malacañang. The swift extension of the Martial Law in Mindanao is one of those instances when one does not see any substantial debate in the floor.
The arguments presented for the change of the Constitution are flimsy. They just mouth slogans, like federalism, which they do not even examine deeply enough. It is not even known if they have consulted their own constituents on the matter. Being the Basic Law the change in the Constitution deserves more enlightened discussions among the people. It is not something to be railroaded. Their agenda is to submit the “New Constitution” to the people in the May 2018 Barangay elections. Will the people vote intelligently if even up to now we do not know what the relevant issues are that would warrant the change?
And how can intelligent discussions be had when the leadership of the present congress, and of the present government, are not mature enough to accept and respect any opposition? There is no democracy if there is no strong opposition because the truth and the good of the people can only be ferreted out by mature discussions and deliberations. But if any opposition is tagged as destabilizers, how can any mature deliberations be done? If the opposition is being punished for not towing the line, like not giving them any budget or “project” at all, how can one voice out his mind, especially if it is against the official party line?
The con-ass (constitutional assembly) is not the correct mode for changing the constitution at the moment even if it be claimed to be legal. This present Congress cannot be trusted with this important task. Besides, there is no need to hurry up the process. There is no deadline to meet, except the deadline set by interested parties for the purpose of controlling the people. Even expense is not a reason. Even if the Constitutional Convention (con-con) mode be more expensive, it is worth it that the people choose the right people just for the sole purpose of studying and changing the Constitutions, if there really is such a need. This present congress is not up to this task! It is not farfetched to think that they are rushing this up again because they are towing the line of a few whose main interests may not be those of the people!